Saudi Arabia to present ‘Shifting Sands: A Battle Song’ at Venice Biennale

 The artwork, to be revealed during the Biennale's opening week starting on April 16, is the outcome of three preliminary workshops conducted by the artist across Saudi Arabia — in Alkhobar, Jeddah, and Riyadh — in January. During these workshops, over 1,000 women responded to an invitation to contribute to her upcoming work for the pavilion.

The participants, representing diverse ages and backgrounds, engaged in group singing sessions led by AlDowayan and Ileana Yasmin, a vocal coach for Saudi Arabia's Music Commission. They were encouraged to reflect on the themes of visibility and invisibility in the context of international media, and they were also tasked with bearing witness to each other by expressing what they see through writing and illustrations.

AlDowayan expressed, "For this artwork, I have returned to my community of women and asked the questions: What is the history that needs to be written through this work? What is the marker of the transformation that needs to be examined?"

The recorded singing, drawings, and texts created by workshop participants will be integrated into "Shifting Sands: A Battle Song," allowing the voices of the artwork's participants to resonate collectively on the international stage in Venice.

An all-female team of curators oversees the National Pavilion of Saudi Arabia at the 60th Venice Biennale this year. Jessica Cerasi, Maya El-Khalil, and assistant curator Shadin AlBulaihed collaborate with AlDowayan on her installation for the event.

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